An Appeal to Review the Manuals used by the Catholic Charismatic Movements, CFC-Global and CFC-FFL in Conducting Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS), Christian Life Program (CLP) and Christian Life Seminars (CLS)

by Fr. Nonnette Legaspi STL



Continuationism vs. Cessationism

For the non-Catholic sola scriptura believers, there had always been two major opposing camps when discussing the phenomenon of “speaking in tongues.” On the one hand, there are the “continuationists” who claim that the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit as in the day of Pentecost continue to be active to this day. On the other hand, we have the “cessasionists” who claim that the Pentecost gift of tongues along with prophesying and healing, ended with the death of the original twelve apostles. These cessationists maintain that the purpose of the gifts were to authenticate the Apostles’ message as being divine. The Pentecost gift of tongues’ original purpose has been fulfilled, the Jewish church is now open to foreign nations, and to protect sola scriptura doctrine,[1] that the Holy Scriptures are now complete and wholly sufficient for all the needs of a Christian worker.

The Roman Catholic Position: Charisms in Context

It seems that the Roman Catholic Church had not engaged in this protestant debate thus far, a debate which has recently divided the protestant block into more than two camps in regard to tongues.[2] For now, I can only think of two reasons why our Roman Catholic Church finds the debate irrelevant, viz.,:

a)  we do not teach sola scriptura[3] and

b) the Catholic position on the issue can neither be labelled as continuationism nor cessationism; ours is a third position, the Roman Catholic Position: charisms are bestowed in context.

By this we mean that Catholic Church recognizes the unchanging power of the Holy Spirit throughout salvation history and that the Holy Spirit still bestows extraordinary graces to those whom He chooses other than the original twelve apostles at any time.[4] But the Church also recognizes the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in responding with the necessary graces relevant to the Church’s current needs through which she may be built up and edified. Thus, whether the Holy Spirit decides to bestow the charism of healing, or of prophecy or of tongues, there must be a divine, spiritual and even practical reasons for these to benefit, not the individual recipient, but Christ’s Body, the Church. It is the Church’s role to discern and authenticate these gifts as primarily divine following rules from her teaching authority, the Scriptures and Tradition.

Hence, the Catholic position does not say that there is no reason for thinking that charisms are now altogether impossible; in fact, the opposite is claimed. We meet charisms in the Church of the apostolic period, where they are considered in normal concomitance with the possession of the Spirit, and thus as a permanent gift in the Church, however secondary in comparison with charity.

Pope John Paul II, speaking about charisms in Vita Consecrata suggested that, rather than speaking of the “founder’s charism” of a religious institute, which tend to situate and limit the charism to one person (the founder), it is more accurate to speak of the “founding charism.” He says that as long as the institute is alive, it is in a state of “founding.”[5] This view shifts the charism away from the recipient person and focuses on the charism itself that is ever maintained and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

Applying this understanding particularly to the charism of gift of tongues, the Church, therefore, moves beyond the idea that the particular Pentecost gift of tongues, (meant then to address peoples of nations yet un-evangelized), is continually repeated in this day and age, in the same mode with the same purpose as at the one-time event of the Apostolic Pentecost without consideration of the needs of our time. The Apostolic Pentecost experience is unrepeatable in the same way that the Holy Spirit indwelling in the womb of the Virgin Mary to effect the Incarnation is unrepeatable. The needs addressed by the Holy Spirit in these one-time events have all been addressed. But the Holy Spirit will continue to address our Church’s needs as He alone enables us to read the “signs of the times.”[6]

Four popes have acknowledged the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement: Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now, Pope Francis. Pope John Paul II stated that the movement was integral to the renewal of the entire Catholic Church. Both Popes Paul and Benedict, while acknowledging the good aspects of the movement, at the same time urge caution to its members to maintain their link to the Catholic Church.

Purpose of this Article

In the light of these statements, the Catholic Church needs to keep in check the soundness of the teachings being taught and preached within this renewal movement, particularly in its main renewal seminar program called Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS).

We shall review the source manual used by Catholic LSS and its other known derivatives for their theological and doctrinal soundness and offer some recommendations at the end.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement conducts its Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS) using a Manual that is based on (if not the book itself) Finding New Life in the Spirit: A Guidebook for the Life in the Spirit Seminars.[7] This book, copyrighted in 1972 by the Charismatic Renewal Services, Inc., was granted “Nihil Obstat” by Lawrence A. Gollner, Censor librorum, and an “Imprimatur” by Bishop Leo A. Pursley. D.D., Bishop of Fort Wayne, South Bend. These Catholic seals should at least assure the readers and users sound Catholic content. The seals seem to assume that the Roman Catholic participants in the LSS will be renewed in their Catholic Faith. But a careful examination of this manual alone will reveal some doctrinal and theological misgivings.

To date, the Couples for Christ (CFC), both the Global Mission Foundation and the Foundation for Family and Life, known as Catholic lay ecclesial movements whose goal is to renew and strengthen Christian values, follow, more or less, the same outline of talks found in the LSS Manual in conducting their Christian Life  Program (CLP for Global) or their Christian Life Seminar (CLS for FFL). I shall post my observations and comments on these Catholic manuals in the following sections.


A Guidebook for Life in the Spirit Seminars

1. This is the manual being used by the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement. While this may have been expanded through the years, the basic tone of the seminar had been preserved in many of the talks.

2. The Manual contains no Catholic doctrinal statements. While it opens with a talk on God’s Love (Talk no. 1), nowhere in any of the seven talks is there any reference to the Holy Trinity, the Eucharist, the Teaching authority of the Church, Tradition, the Sacraments and Grace.

3. Talk no. 2 is on Salvation. It reduces salvation to simply accepting Jesus, who as Lord died for all of us. This acceptance of Jesus gives one the wisdom and the power of God. This reduction is unacceptable. Salvation in Roman Catholicism is a process with many steps: Actual Grace, Faith, Good Works, Baptism, Participation in the Sacraments, Penance, Indulgences, and Keeping the Commandments.  Basically, salvation is attained through sacramental baptism and good works.  It is maintained by good works and participation in the sacraments.

4. While the guidebook emphasizes Scripture, nothing is lifted up from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[8]

5. In Talk no. 3, on New Life, the manual exhorts the participants who presumably are still in need of renewal with, “You can experience the Holy Spirit the same way the first disciples did.” This is a dangerous presumption for Catholics especially with all the aforementioned lack of sound Catholic doctrinal foundations. Already, the participants are being mentally or emotionally prepared for the excitement of the event called “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”without even any reference to the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism. The manual says that when the Holy Spirit is “released” in the person (in a similar way it was released at Pentecost), an experience of new life is forthcoming. This implies a parallel between the reception of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and their so-called “Baptism in the Spirit.” 

6. Talk no. 4, on Receiving God’s Gift, says this, “Ask the Lord for the gift of tongues. Tongues is a gift of God. And even if you do not understand fully what it will do for you. Trust God that his gifts really are gifts and worth having. If you are unwilling to receive the gift of tongues, you are putting a block on the Lord’s work and the Holy Spirit will not be free to work fully in you. Open yourself to all of God’s gifts, with no reservations.”

     The guidebook is based on the premise that charismatic gifts can be induced. This is certainly non-Christian and non-Catholic. Charismatic gifts cannot be induced; they are given where and when the Spirit wills it. (1 Cor 12:11)

7. Clearly, there is an undue emphasis on tongues. The manual instructs the participants to say: “I ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit and give me the gift of tongues.” Participants are told, “If you are unwilling to receive the gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit will not be free to work in you.” Why should the acceptance of this so-called gift of tongues be a prerequisite for the free operation of the Holy Spirit in the individual? It is also illogical to suppose that one would not accept it when one just brazenly asked for it.

8. People are instructed to open their mouths and to start making sounds like babies – and these unintelligent sounds are supposed to develop into languages. Eventually some kind of pseudo language may develop – provided time and effort are given to it. But real languages cannot develop without conscious thought, and surely these tongues remain what they were at the beginning; mindless babble. At Pentecost the Apostles received real languages; not charismatic babble!

Both the CLP and CLS Manuals have since the beginning expanded the outline of Finding New Life in the Spirit; attempts at adapting the original work for Catholics’ use are evident: adding quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, mentioning the Blessed Mother and the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. But mere mention of these do not make it Catholic. And more to the point, despite these cosmetic attempts, with regard to asking for the extraordinary grace of tongues, these guides do not speak about the Catholic teaching on Grace.

In Talk no. 8 of CFC-Global’s CLP, the manual says,

“We need to properly understand the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is a common experience when we receive the Holy Spirit, just like the experience of the disciples described in Acts.  It is a gift from God, thus it is important. But unlike the other spiritual gifts, ‘tongues’ is a gift that may not immediately manifest. Once we receive it, it can have great consequences in our spiritual life, especially in our prayer and worship. It is an important first step and is often the gateway to a fuller life in the Spirit.”

CLP has an entire workshop on tongues. 

In the manual used by CFC-FFL for CLS, Talk no. 7, on Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit, directly mentions the goal of the session: “To lead people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues.”



In all these versions of “Catholic” manuals the following things stand out:

1. Baptism in the Spirit: LSS Style.

“Baptism in the Spirit” is a protestant terminology that has crept into the lingo of Catholic Charismatics and CFC members. Even when the speakers / lecturers mention the fact that “we have already been sacramentally baptized,” and mention that the so-called Baptism of the Spirit is just an experience of a “release” of the Spirit’s power, the Sacramentality of Baptism is inevitably reduced to a rite. It is as if, the sacrament was just an ordinance (as Protestants view it), a non-obligatory ritual requirement of the past, whose efficacy, real effect and power will only be released at the time of “Baptism of the Spirit” during the seminar.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once opined:

“There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing, for example, as a baptism of the spirit distinct from baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians Church, which was the Church that caused him so much trouble, he when he used the word Baptism he said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are IN Christ!’.” (emphases mine)[9]

2. No Teaching on Sacramental Baptism.

In the Catholic versions of the Manual, Talk / Session no. 2 asks: What does it mean to be a Christian? It gives a simple answer: “When we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become Christians.”[10]

Again, there is no mention of Sacramental Baptism when this is the whole basis of Christian life as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us.

CCC 1213:Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’”(Emphases mine)

CCC 1229: “From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.” (Emphases mine)

3. No teaching on the Eucharist.

CCC1324: “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’”

Not even a mere mention of the Most Sacred Eucharist, the source and summit of Christian life, is made considering that this is about Catholic Christian life and how to grow in this life.

4. Asking for the gift of Speaking in Tongues.

Instead, the manuals devote a whole workshop on the extraordinary gift of tongues. This, despite Catholic Christian Spiritual tradition’s warning: to never to ask for extra-ordinary graces. To ask for extraordinary graces from God is a violation of a Church Teaching. In Lumen Gentium §12, the Council distinguishes ordinary and extraordinary charisms, a distinction the manuals do not mention:

“The extraordinary gifts are not to be rashly asked for, nor should the fruits of apostolic works be presumptuously expected from them; but the judgment of their genuine character and the ordered exercise of them pertains to those who preside in the Church….”

To ask for extraordinary graces is a sign of pride: a demonic opening. St. Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church, in her work Interior Castle, warns souls that when they learn or hear that God is giving souls extraordinary graces, “you must never ask or desire Him to lead you by that road.” She goes on to explain why: First, it shows a lack of humility; second, one leaves self open to “great danger because the devil needs only to see a door left a bit ajar to enter;” third, “when a person has a great desire, he convinces himself he is seeing or hearing what he desires.”[11]

St. Teresa adds that there are many holy people who have never had such things, and others who have them, and are not holy.[12]     

5. Glaring Doctrinal Omissions.

Aside from the aforementioned doctrinal omissions, nowhere in the teachings could be found the centrality of the Church’s agency in the activity of the Holy Spirit as well. These so-called Catholic manuals leave out a very important truth:  Church is the place where we know the Holy Spirit.

CCC 688 “The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit: – in the Scriptures he inspired; – in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses; – in the Church’s Magisterium, which he assists; – in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ; – in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us; – in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up; – in the signs of apostolic and missionary life; – in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.” (Emphases mine)

Among these modes of knowing the Holy Spirit, only “charisms” is mentioned and given emphasis in the LSS manuals (as with the other manuals patterned after it). Scriptures, Tradition, Magisterium, sacramental liturgy, prayer, apostolic and missionary life and the witness of the saints are all omitted. That’s a lot of omissions! This is indeed a very dangerous omission as the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once noted when he said:

“It is their spirit therefore that is gradually unfolding itself in the Church. That is how we come to a theological knowledge of the three persons, and when we detach the spirit from the Church we are very apt to go awry.” [13]

6. No Talk of Grace.

Without dealing with the Sacraments the manual cannot talk about Grace. Particularly lacking is the teaching on Sanctifying Grace, the ordinary grace we receive through the Sacraments. Yet, undue attention is given to the gift of tongues which is an extraordinary grace.

Catholics should know/ remember that Sacraments ordinarily confer sanctifying grace to those who receive them. Sanctifying grace is that marvelous supernatural life, that sharing-in-God’s-own-life that is the result of God’s Love, the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the soul. Hence, to the soul that had been cut off from God by original sin, Baptism brings sanctifying grace for the first time. Baptism opens the soul to the flow of God’s love, and establishes union between the soul and God. The efficacy of this Baptism is immediate. And to the soul cut off from God by its own personal sin, by mortal sin, the sacrament of Reconciliation restores the sanctifying grace that has been lost. Only the Sacrament of Reconciliation can remove the barrier that has kept the Holy Spirit outside of one’s life. Only this Sacrament can restore one’s life in the Spirit.[14]

The other five sacraments—Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony—give an increase in sanctifying grace. They deepen and intensify the spiritual life of sanctifying grace which already pulsates through the soul. As each additional sacrament is received (and repeated, when it can be) the level of spiritual vitality rises in the soul—somewhat as the brightness of a fire increases as you add more fuel.[15]

The CLS manual says: “Tongues is a gift of praise. It is one of God’s gifts. That is what makes it important. God wants you to have this gift.” This is a misplaced attention given to tongues. The most important grace that will see us through our journey through holiness of life is certainly not the gift of tongues but sanctifying grace, that is, the habitual and actual graces we receive through our Sacramental Baptism, Confirmation and other sacraments.

As to the gift of tongues being “important” – yes, all things coming from God are precious but we are given intelligence and will and we are given the Church in order to help us discern these gifts’ places in the hierarchy of values. If you love your pet dog the same way you love your mother, then something is terribly wrong with your hierarchy of values.

To blurt out a sweeping statement like, “The gift of tongues is one of God’s gifts. That is what makes it important. God wants you to have this gift” is simply opening the mind of the Catholic participants to a false path. How do you know that ALL of your participants are destined to have this extraordinary grace of tongues? How can you presume that the Holy Spirit will favor ALL your participants with this extraordinary grace? St. Paul disagrees with this.[16] No, God only wants ALL OF US us to have SANCTIFYING GRACE because that is what makes us holy. Extraordinary graces do not, strictly speaking, make us holy. Rather, holiness is presumed in the recipients of extraordinary graces.

7. Opening to the demonic spirit of delusion.

The Manual offers the following instructions, “Begin by just praising God in your own words. Then start speaking out in tongues. If necessary, begin by uttering meaningless sounds (e.g., la la la). The Holy Spirit will form these sounds into tongues. (Analogy: it is easier to manipulate the steering wheel of a car when it is in motion rather than stationary).”

If I just type away my computer keyboard mindlessly, with the purpose of writing a love letter to my parents, I can come up with this: alkjkljsdf ajkf9uf dlkf yrfn. And I try doing this many more times: Kjiorut jgidg fh fjf op23r9 fkldf. Gjfkl; ggjpogpgi dfo… until a whole paragraph is formed.  I then send it to my parents without any explanations. What would they think about it? Could they simply say, “Amazing, son! You wrote a very endearing love letter!”?

Or, to use the analogy of Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, in demonstrating to atheists the improbability of their position in believing that the universe just came from a chance collision of various elements and voila!, life forms emerged: “this is like saying that a monkey could randomly type the entire corpus of Shakespeare by random tapping of the keys within two weeks.”

That the Holy Spirit will eventually form these meaningless garbles of typewritten characters into meaningful prayer is simply coming from a childish magical mind set. It is like hiding your talents underground hoping to magically be converted into a stash of gold overtime (cf. Mt. 25:14-30).

Not only does the Manual violate the Christian principle of not rashly asking for extraordinary gifts  (cf. Lumen Gentium no. 12), it even goes further by instructing the unsuspecting participants to initially fake the extraordinary gift of grace to hopefully “attract” God to granting the genuine one later on! This is simply sinful. Are we bribing God with false pretenses so that eventually He can be “fooled,” or that He might have mercy on our foolhardiness, so that He would eventually grant us His genuine extraordinary graces? This is an audacious sinful stance of using a lie to get to the truth. And this sinful behavior knowingly or unknowingly opens up the door to demonic influences.



It is Against Scriptures

St. Paul was clear to a tee when he says, “…tongues are a sign not for those who believe but for unbelievers…” (1 Cor 14:22). It is noteworthy that in our modern day LSS-inspired seminars, albeit for “newbies” in the faith, as well as the regular gatherings of “old-timers” through the Catholic “charismatic” prayer meetings where the “gift of tongues” is widely (and often wildly) practiced there is hardly the presence of even one unbeliever among them.

In the Philippine milieu, it is uncommon to find gatherings with different nationalities in attendance who do not speak English. And most rare are gatherings where the head or prayer leader does not speak English to accommodate the non-Filipinos in the mix should there be. Now we ask, Was not the gift of tongues during Pentecost sent to empower the Apostles to preach? (cf. Acts 2:4[17]) Why would one speak in another language in order to proclaim the Good News when everyone in attendance understands Filipino,  English or any commonly spoken dialect?

Some tongue-speakers say that their gift of  “tongues” is a sign of God’s love.  This is not biblical either. St. Paul clearly delineates the gift of tongues from love when he says, “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).  So that a manifestation of “tongues” does not necessarily point to the presence of love.

In Catholic spiritual theology, “tongues” belong to the grace termed gratia gratis datae, which are divine graces freely given for the edification of others and the building up of the Church.

To those who habitually speak or pray in tongues[18] in charismatic meetings, St. Paul’s caution should be reiterated:

“…if you, because of speaking in tongues, do not utter intelligible speech, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be talking to the air… but in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” (1 Cor. 14: 9,19)

It is Against the Teachings of the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church

Doctors of the Church

Because all “speaking in tongues” was reinvented by groups past the apostolic age,  we must take movements like these with great caution and prefer the spiritual direction of the great Doctors of the Church over men who think they know a way to Heaven better than Our Lord or the saints. Msgr. Ronald Knox astutely notes that “speaking in tongues you never learned was and is typically thought of as a sign of diabolical possession. No one ever claimed it was a gift from God until the 16th century.” [19]

Msgr. Knox adds, “if someone attempts to rebut this by saying that the apostles were saints (that they were not possessed by demons), that is true, but they spoke intelligibly and everyone understood them.[20] The only other recorded cases of speaking in tongues by men – like St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Padre Pio, and other saints – was always recorded as speaking in intelligible speech understood by all those who listened.

Clearly, a Catholic in the 21st century who is just beginning his/ her journey towards a deeper Catholic faith foundation (an objective he/ she wishes to achieve by attending a Catholic renewal program like LSS, CLP or CLS) should shudder at the prideful thought of being virtually catapulted instantly to the same spiritual heights as the Apostles or the likes of St. Padre Pio, St. Vincent Ferrer etal (all recipients of  gratia gratis datae known for their holiness) when these renewal program participants claim that they are given the extraordinary grace of tongues (presuming they have achieved instant holiness?) to edify others and build the church. And these extraordinary grace and mission coming to them after merely sitting in seven sessions of LSS talks! Not that God cannot grant these graces and ad extra mission calling. That is not the issue. But to think that holiness, a spiritual journey and a process, has short-cuts is preposterous.

The Interior Castle, a book written by St. Teresa of Avila, is a kind of a guide map for spiritual development through service and prayer. The soul, for Teresa, is like a diamond in the shape of a castle. The castle contains seven mansions, which she interpreted as the journey of faith and prayer through seven stages, ending with union with God. Note however that Teresa speaks of extraordinary graces possibly being granted by God only in the Fourth Mansion, the stages of mystical and contemplative prayer. This advanced stage of prayer life is when the soul begins to experience the supernatural, Teresa says. And there are no short-cuts through the castle that will bring you straight to the fourth stage or mansion!

Therefore, we should guard against religious movements and groups allegedly offering Catholic spiritual formation toward renewal, which however, defying the conventional spirituality recommended by the mystics and teachers of the Church, aim only for a sensual spirituality. By sensual spirituality we mean a way of life in the spirit where the individual aims at personal feelings as a measure of one’s closeness to God. Of course, it feels good to be highly favored by God almost instantly with a “gift of tongues” and a mission greater than oneself. Not to mention the emotional relief one experiences after uncontrollable fits of tongue rolling.[21] Undeniably, these concomitant emotional graces may be taken as signs of God’s intimate presence in one’s life. Note that there is a danger in seeking these so-called spiritual consolations in our life of prayer, as St. Teresa warns us. However, genuine Catholic Christian spirituality aims rather for personal holiness through self-denial and through an experience of a dark night of the senses where love of the Cross of Christ is at the center of the journey.

St. Thomas Aquinas: No need for tongues; the Church already speaks the languages of all nations. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD), known as the Angelic Doctor, repeats the view of St. Augustine. Christ in His own person purposed preaching to only one nation, namely the Jews. Consequently, although without any doubt He possessed most perfectly the knowledge of all languages, there was no need for Him to speak in every tongue. And therefore, as Augustine says (Tract. xxxii in Joan.), ‘whereas even now the Holy Ghost is received, yet no one speaks in the tongues of all nations, because the Church herself already speaks the languages of all nations: since whoever is not in the Church, receives not the Holy Ghost.’” (ST, II-II, Q176) [22]


The Church Fathers

Only Authentic foreign languages. The collective writings of the Church Fathers “overwhelmingly suggest that they associate tongues-speaking with a supernatural ability to speak rational, authentic foreign languages. That proposition is directly supported by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Hegemonius, Gregory of Nazianzen, Ambrosiaster, Chrysostom, Augustine, Leo the Great, and implied by others (such as Tertullian and Origen).”[23]

Only one type: xenoglossy not glossolalia. The Church Fathers “never hint at the possibility of two types of tongues-speaking.[24] Rather, they consistently present the gift as a solitary ability—both in its nature and function. In their minds, the only difference between public and private tongues-speaking is that the latter is not interpreted.[25] Thus, the patristic evidence supports a rational foreign language as the proper and normal manifestation of tongues.[26] Conversely, unintelligible babblings and irrational gibberish are never associated with the gift.”[27]

Speaking in tongues not for all. The patristic writings further evidence that all Christians did not speak in tongues. Not only did none of the Church Fathers claim to speak in tongues personally, they consistently expressed their belief that not every Christian receives that gift (or any one gift, for that matter).

Clement of Alexandria explains that ‘each [believer] has his own proper gift of God— one in one way, another in another.’[28]

Hippolytus is even more explicit: ‘It is not necessary that every one of the faithful should cast out demons, raise the dead, or speak with tongues.  But only such a one who has been graciously given this gift—for the purpose that it may be advantageous to the salvation of unbelievers.’[29]

Ambrose echoes, ‘Not all, says he, have the gift of healings, nor do all, says he, speak with tongues. For the whole of the divine gifts cannot exist in each several man.’[30]

And Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, and Theodoret of Cyrus agree.[31] 

The chorus of evidence is overwhelming. The church fathers did not believe that every believer received the same spiritual endowment from the Holy Spirit.[32] Some were gifted with tongues while others were gifted in other ways.”[33]

Speaking in tongues: A supenatural gift. No workshops, no rehearsals. No fraud nor fakery. The church fathers also viewed tongues-speaking as a supernatural gift. No amount of human exertion, initiation, or training could aid in acquiring what was endowed only by the Holy Spirit. Irenaeus makes it clear that those who ‘speak in all languages’ do so only ‘through the Spirit of God.’[34] True signs are done in ‘the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ rather than ‘by means of angelic invocations, incantations, or any other wicked curious art.’[35] Origen even argues that the same Spirit who gives the gift can also take it away.[36] After all, the ‘substance of the gifts . . . owes its actual existence in men to the Holy Spirit.’[37] Novatian and Hilary[38] agree, and the words of Ambrosiaster are equally unmistakable: ‘Paul is emphatic in asserting that the distribution of gifts is not to be attributed to human causes as if they were achievable by men. The varied gifts of the Holy Spirit and the grace of the Lord Jesus are the work of one and the same God.’[39]

Thus, the gifts (including tongues) did not involve any prior human effort or ability to attain. That is not to say that speaking in tongues results in a lack of self-control,[40] but rather that it truly was a gift given by the grace of God to whomever He willed.[41] No training, education, or personal achievement was necessary—‘some spoke in tongues which they did not know and which nobody had taught them.’ [42] As Arnobius says, ‘By His own Power, He not only performed those miraculous deeds, . . . but He has permitted many others to attempt them and to perform them by the use of His name. . . . He chose fisherman, artisans, peasants, and unskilled persons of a similar kind, so that they, being sent through various nations, would perform all those miracles without any fraud and without any material aids.’” [43]

Supernatural gifts for those living holy lives. “Of course, Origen, Eusebius, Basil, Ambrose, and others[44] are quick to point out that the Spirit works only through those who are living holy lives. Nevertheless, the fathers are unanimous in affirming that it is the Holy Spirit, not the human spirit, that bestows and directs each of the gifts. After all, ‘To be pious is from any one’s good disposition; but to work wonders is from the power of Him that works them by us: the first of which respects ourselves; but the second respects God that works them, for the reasons which we have already mentioned.’[45] Human experience, effort, and education are irrelevant—the Spirit grants supernatural power to those, and only those, whom He chooses.”[46]

St. Augustine: Gift of Tongues no longer in existence during his time. St. Augustine (354 – 430 AD), a Doctor of the Church, known as the Doctor of Grace, an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy, was of the opinion that the extraordinary gift of tongues was no longer in existence in his time. He said, “whereas even now the Holy Ghost is received, yet no one speaks in the tongues of all nations, because the Church herself already speaks the languages of all nations: since whoever is not in the Church, receives not the Holy Ghost.”(Tract. xxxii in Joan)[47]

“In the earliest times, ‘the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed; and they spake with tongues,’ which they had not learned, ‘as the Spirit gave them utterance’ [Acts 2:4]. These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved (necessitated) to be that betokening (committing) of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew (show) that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away” (Homilies on the First Epistle of John 6.10).[48]

St. John Cassian: Extraordinary phenomena may be the work of the devil. St. John Cassian ( c. 360 – 435 AD), John the Ascetic, or John Cassian the Roman was a Christian monk and theologian who gave this warning: “Sometimes the demons (work miracles) in order to lift into pride the man who believes himself to possess the miraculous gift, and so prepare him for a more miraculous fall. They pretend that they are being burnt up and driven out from the bodies where they were dwelling through the holiness of people whom truly they know to be unholy… In the Gospel we read: There shall arise false Christs and false prophets” (St. John Cassian, Divine Gifts)

St. John Chrysostom: no reason to think that speaking in tongues is the greatest gift. Chrysostom (347-407): “The Corinthians thought that speaking in tongues was a great gift because it was the one which the apostles received first, and with a great display. But this was no reason to think it was the greatest gift of all. The reason the apostles got it first was because it was a sign that they were to go everywhere, preaching the gospel.” (Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 35.1).[49]

Clearly these citations referring to the rich Christian Catholic tradition are in stark contrast to the current views and teachings incorporated in the Life in the Spirit Seminars (LSS), Christian Life Program (CLP) or the Christian Life Seminars (CLS) conducted by some Catholic groups or movements and other so-called charismatic groups, which have given the gift of tongues high profile attention. The pervading view is that the gift of tongues is essential to having an intimate experience of God. A lack of this gift is a lack of a God-experience.[50]

In further contrast, the aforementioned modern day teachings have not limited the gift to messages to actual human languages (xenoglossy) as did the Fathers of the Church, but have included utterance of unintelligible sounds (glossolalia). A further difference with the early Church Fathers’ position, albeit almost always dismissed as hearsay by most modern-day tongues-speakers, is that all Christians should have this important gift as evidence of progress in their Christian lives.[51]

These modern teachings, often exclusively taught in “Tongues Workshops,” say that glossolalia can be a learned human behavior. Once learned, it becomes a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit.[52]



1. Draft A Catholic Manual

The handbook Finding New Life in the Spirit: A Guidebook for Life in the Spirit Seminars, despite its nihil obstat and imprimatur seals, when scrutinized for Catholic content, fails miserably.  The Catholic Movements in question may start by drafting their own Catholic Manual based on sound Catechism. They may use the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Scriptures. While it is true that for many decades there have been countless conversions, enlightenment and priestly / religious vocations have been the fruits of this seminars, and while many may even defend their stubbornness arguing from the scripture passage: “By their fruits you shall know them” (Mt 7:20),[53] remember that St. Paul exhorts us too, “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine” (Tit 2:1).

2. Do away with the Segment on Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It seems that LSS and its derivatives consider this “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”[54] as the core experience of the seminar. The seminars are meant to particularly give the participants a taste of an experience of the Holy Spirit’s power through the “gift of tongues.” This is a deliberate misdirection. Nothing more personal than that, since it is assumed that ALL the participants in these seminars have tongues and can therefore speak. But it is a brazen assumption.[55] Therefore, the illusion of personally being empowered by the Spirit easily (if not immediately) when one can speak in tongues is planted in the minds of the participants who are yet babies in their faith and holiness; and the illusion persists even when they are not “babies” anymore.

Any mention of “baptism” in the Catholic mind and heart cannot but refer solely to the door to the life of grace: Sacramental Baptism. It is NOT ENOUGH to say that “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in the current usage is just a RENEWAL of Baptismal promises, because this is not just a renewal of adult Catholics who are supposed to be assisted by the sacramental grace of RECONCILIATION (something that is itself not well expounded in the manuals). The added feature of tongues empowerment had always been erroneously attached to this segment.

3. Do away with any undue attention to asking and faking extraordinary graces.

Pretences are an abomination in the sight of God.[56] We have seen the caution of some Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church representing Tradition as well as the instruction of Church Magisterium based on Scriptures regarding asking for extraordinary graces (gratis datae).

But what do we mean by faking? Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the New Age of Enlightenment taught Transcendental Meditation (TM), a non-Christian meditation, to his followers, many of whom are Christians. I was one of them. One lure to it was the so-called vedic flying, or levitation, by one’s own power and will. Very interesting, indeed. But not only that, the Yogi opined that through TM human beings can achieve invincibility, inability to contract any illnesses or diseases and not be even affected by material natural elements like the rain. That’s more interesting!

In Christian Mysticism, St. Joseph of Cupertino was known to levitate at prayer. St. Padre Pio too was granted God’s many extraordinary graces so he may lead others to a greater union with God. These were graces granted only by God to them. These were not asked for, prayed for nor prepared beforehand through constant practice. There are no workshops on how to do prophecies, how to become a stigmatist, or on how to do levitation, in preparation for “receiving the real gifts from God.”

Yes, there are numerous ways to achieve any end. But how to achieve these ends is what concerns spiritual and moral theology. To achieve an end that looks like an extraordinary grace that had been prayed for, adamantly sought after or even induced, is to engage in fakery. It is similar to David Blaine’s or Cris Angel’s walking on the water trickery for entertainment purposes. It would be foolish for these magicians to finally say after years of trickery, “Hey! I can finally walk on water without gimmicks! Thanks be to God!”

4. Teach Catholics about the Sacraments and about Sanctifying Grace.

The sacraments are chosen instruments of divine power. The exact definition of a sacrament is that it is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” We readily can see that there are three distinct ideas contained in that short definition: Outward sign, Instituted by Christ, To give grace.

Sanctifying grace can be defined as a supernatural quality, inhering in the soul, which gives us a physical and formal participation, although analogous and accidental, in the very nature and life of God. Grace is clearly supernatural, as the formal principle that elevates us and constitutes us in the supernatural life. It far excels all natural things and makes us enter into the sphere of the divine. St. Thomas has said that the minimum degree of sanctifying grace in the individual is greater than the natural good of the entire universe.[57]

Graces “Gratum faciens” and “Gratis Datae.”  In his first letter to the Corinthians (12:4-6), St. Paul states that there are diverse gifts of God, but that God is one in himself. All that we have received in both the natural and the supernatural order we have received from God, so that we could speak of all these things as graces gratis datae. But theologians reserve the term graces gratis datae for a special type of graces called charisms. Unlike the grace gratum faciens (habitual or actual graces) a grace gratis data has as its immediate purpose not the sanctification of the one who receives it, but the spiritual benefit of others. It is called gratis data not only because it is above the natural power of man but also because it is something outside the realm of personal merit.

With this distinction in mind, we may list the following conclusions regarding the graces gratis datae:

1. The graces gratis datae (charisms) do not form part of the supernatural organism of the Christian life as do sanctifying grace and the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, nor can they be classified under actual grace.

2. They are what we may call “epiphenomen” of the life of grace and may even be granted to one who lacks sanctifying grace.

3. They are not and cannot be the object of merit, but are strictly gratuitous.

4. Since they do not form part of the supernatural organism, they are not contained in the virtualities of sanctifying grace, and hence the normal development of the life of grace could never produce or demand them.

5. The graces gratis datae require in each instance the direct intervention of God.


5. Study the Norms regarding the nature of Charismatic gifts.

Let us learn from Fr. Jordan Aumann’s book, Spiritual Theology, in its segment on Charism under the chapter on Discernment of the Spirit:

“From these conclusions concerning the nature of the graces gratis datae we can formulate the following norms to serve as a guide for the spiritual director:

A. It would be temerarious in the normal course of events to desire or to ask God for graces gratis datae or charisms. They are not necessary for salvation nor for sanctification, and they require the direct intervention of God. Far more precious is an act of love than a charismatic gift.

B. In the event that God does grant a grace gratis datae, it is not a proof that a person is in the state of grace; much less can the gratuitous grace be taken as a sign that the individual is holy.

C. The graces gratis datae do not sanctify those who receive them. And if anyone in mortal sin were to receive one of these graces, he or she could possibly remain in a sinful state even after the gratuitous gift of charism had been received.

D. These graces are not given primarily for the benefit of the individual who receives them but for the good of others and for the edification of the Church.

E. Since the graces gratis datae are something independent of sanctity, it is not necessary that all the saints should have received them. St. Augustine gives the reason for this when he says that they were not given to all the saints lest weak souls should be deceived into thinking that such extraordinary gifts were more important than the good works that are meritorious of eternal life.[58]

F. But one should not exaggerate this doctrine. The graces gratis datae may indirectly or by redundance be beneficial to the one who receives them; it depends upon the spirit with which such gifts are accepted. These graces do not necessarily require or prove the state of sanctifying grace in the person who receives them, but it seems that God would not normally bestow such graces on persons in mortal sin.

G. Most of the ancient theologians accepted the names and classification of the graces gratis datae as they were given by St. Paul, but modern theologians and exegetes generally maintain that St. Paul did not intend to give a complete and definitive list, but was referring especially to the charisms God bestows on those who are engaged in the apostolate and ministry of the Church. There are other charisms not enumerated by St. Paul.”[59]

6. Discourage the Practice of Being Slain in the Spirit.

The term “slain in the Spirit” is used in the Charismatic circles of Christian Churches to designate a supposed movement of the Holy Spirit upon a person.  The claim is that the Holy Spirit moves with such power on a person, that the person is “slain.”  This does not mean the person dies, but that he/she is so overcome by the presence of the Spirit that he/she falls down to the ground being completely overcome.[60]

How do we discourage that if it just happens to the participants? By stopping the practice of Baptism in the Spirit, the laying on of hands that precedes or follows it, and the generation of hype in the thought that the participants will experience the Holy Spirit first hand through tongues. These are all connected.

The phenomenon of being slain in the spirit is associated with the activity of Baptism of the Spirit. Although the manuals do not mention being slain in the spirit, it appears as if it is a concomitant phenomenon to the “release of the Spirit’s power.” The phenomenon happens immediately after some “anointed” or “gifted” speaker or prayer leader touches the participants on the forehead in the form of a praying over. But sometimes, the simple motion of the speaker’s hand or arm can “cause” being “slain.”

Narrative accounts are consistent in describing the “slain” person as suddenly incapacitated for a period of time.  Many people claim to experience an energy or a force that causes them to fall back. However, we find no biblical basis for this concept.[61] Yes, there may be some energy or force involved, but if so, it is very likely not of God and not the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. Why do I say this?

In my ministry as an Exorcist of the Diocese of Novaliches, I have learned that there are basically six identifiable types of spiritual cases:

1)      Visitations/ Apparitions: souls in purgatory signalling a need for prayer; many souls from Purgatory visited St. Padre Pio seeking his prayers, sacrifices and sufferings to obtain their release[62]

2)      Hauntings: demons pretending to be human souls

3)      Infestations: demonic infestations of places

4)      Oppressions: demonic oppression of people, external manifestations

5)      Obsessions: demonic obsession of people, external and internal (psycho-emotional, spiritual)

6)      Possessions: demonic possession of people, partial or full

Only Case #1 is considered a supernatural activity as this happens with the presumed permission of God. Cases #2-#6 are considered preternatural as they are solely demonic activities, albeit some are with God’s permission for a purpose, others are welcomed through human weakness.

It is noteworthy that there are only five kinds of spirits:

1)      the Trinity (do not cause possessions)

2)      human souls (do not cause possessions)

3)      holy angels (do not cause possessions)

4)      fallen angels (can cause possessions) and

5)      damned souls (can cause possessions).

There are no other types of spirits; but demons will masquerade as whatever type of spirit will engender sympathy or interaction.[63] Of these, nos. 1 to 3 do not cause possessions. Only fallen angels and damned souls can cause possession, disrespecting man’s intellect, freedom and will. Only these evils spirits can cause cases # 2 – #6 (hauntings, infestations, oppression, obsessions and possessions) we mentioned above.

So, is the uncontrollable babble of one’s tongue caused by God? Is the uncontrollable frenzy of laughter, making animal noises and hissing sounds, the uncontrollable bodily twitches of God? Is being knocked out of one’s consciousness, or at even at least the experience of being pushed by an invisible hand such that one falls to the ground an act of God? No. God never dishonours His creatures by violating their freedom, intellect and will.


One may argue that LSS, CLP or CLS are ecumenical in nature. Granting they are, St. John Paul II reminds us of what the ecumenical spirit means in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint:

“The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, ‘the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth?…Even so, doctrine needs to be presented in a way that makes it understandable to those for whom God himself intends it.” [64]

One of the most common misunderstandings about the gift of tongues is that the  miracle is an ability to speak a prayer language of which only God knows the  meaning. This “ecstatic speech,” made up of sounds and syllables uttered by the mouth, completely bypasses the understanding, being unintelligible even to the recipient. This gift, proponents say, is a means by which a person can communicate the innermost groanings of his spirit to God’s Spirit (cf. Romans 8:26). It is sometimes equated with “the tongues of angels” that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 13:1, but the locus classicus  to support this view of tongues is, “For  one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one  understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:2). [65]  Romans 8:26 cannot refer to the gift of tongues because the passage speaks of  unutterable (alaletois) groanings, or groanings which the KJV says “cannot be  uttered.” Furthermore, when 1 Corinthians 14:2 is interpreted in the context of its chapter, it yields a completely opposite meaning than that of unintelligible  speech. Paul’s whole argument is that tongues were not a means for private edification, but a gift to be used for communicating doctrinal content to others.[66]

This is what the Catholic Encyclopaedia has to say on the matter: “There is enough in St. Paul to show us that the Corinthian peculiarities were ignoble accretions and abuses.

·         They made of “tongues” a source of schism in the Church and of scandal without (14:23).

·         The charism had deteriorated into a mixture of meaningless inarticulate gabble (9, 10) with an element of uncertain sounds (7, 8), which sometimes might be construed as little short of blasphemous (12:3).

·         The Divine praises were recognized now and then, but the general effect was one of confusion and disedification for the very unbelievers for whom the normal gift was intended (14:22, 23, 26).

·         The Corinthians, misled not by insincerity but by simplicity and ignorance (20), were actuated by an undisciplined religious spirit (pneuma), or rather by frenzied emotions and not by the understanding (nous) of the Spirit of God (15).

·         What today purports to be the “gift of tongues” at certain Protestant revivals is a fair reproduction of Corinthian glossolalia, and shows the need there was in the primitive Church of the Apostle’s counsel to do all things “decently, and according to order.”[67]

In recent conversations with some sector or chapter heads of both CFC-Global and FFL,[68] the groups unanimously claim that these seminars are just for “beginners” and that subsequent sessions are given to teach more Catholic content. I always say that that is well and good. But a promise of these follow-up sessions does not justify the questionable contents given to “beginners.” We certainly do not want these “beginners” to be misled by simplicity and ignorance as the Corinthians were during the time of St. Paul.

Let me end with the thoughts again of one of my favourite teachers, the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen in speaking about the charismatic church mind set:

“It is their spirit therefore that is gradually gradually unfolding itself in the Church. That is how we come to a theological knowledge of the three persons, and when we detach the spirit from the Church we are very apt to go awry. There just isn’t any such thing as a charismatic Church. There isn’t any such thing, for example, as a baptism of the spirit distinct from baptism. That is why Saint Paul in his epistle to the Corinthian Church, which was the Church that caused him so much trouble, when he used the word Baptism said: ‘Sure you are Baptized! You are IN Christ!’” [69]

If we are to become responsible stewards of our flock, we need to re-view and re-study the content of the formation being given to our fellow Roman Catholic Faithful who desire to be re-evangelized. These observations and recommendations are not in any way anti-ecumenical, not even close to being anti-pentecostalism, nor anti-charismatic nor anti-any renewal movement. On the contrary, it seeks to promote the Renewal Movement within the Church. These positions we have discussed are pure and simple pro-evangelization: an uncompromised New Evangelization thrust that is always mindful of the words expressed by St. John Paul II: “In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth.”[70]  Through the passing years, by not paying attention to the aforementioned theological issues, we may have indeed compromised the faith of so many Catholics in the name of a misplaced and misunderstood label of ecumenism.

[1] The protestant principle of sola scriptura would be violated if the charismatic practice of tongues were strictly followed and observed. The bible ceases to be the sole authority of their faith, giving way to the authority of the Holy Spirit through His tongue speaker, who is supposed to speak infallibly.  What happens for example when a tongue speaker asserts that sola scriptura is itself a false doctrine?

[2] John Fullerton MacArthur Jr., Calvinist pastor, is a staunch cessationist, and is one of the most prominent voices in the church against the continuationist beliefs of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement. He accuses the protestant denominations practicing speaking in tongues of blasphemy, attributing to the Holy Spirit, the mindless babbles people make and calling it miraculous. Many fellow protestant pastors rebut his accusations; the debate never ends.

[3]Sola scriptura, the belief in the Bible as the sole source of faith, is unhistorical, illogical, fatal to the virtue of faith, and destructive of unity.” See Catholic Encyclopedia on Protestantism at:    http://www. newadvent.org/cathen/12495a.htm

[4] Lumen Gentium no. 12: “These charisms, whether they be the more outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation for they are perfectly suited to and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labour to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good.” (emphases mine)

[5] John Paul II, Vita Consecrata (Rome: The Vatican, March 25, 1996), 63. Also available online at http://www.vatican.va.

[6] In his General Audience Address  entitled In the Spirit We Read the Signs of the Times (September 23, 1998), John Paul II said: “The Second Vatican Council, using an expression taken from the language of Jesus himself, describes the significant clues to the presence and action of God’s Spirit in history as the ‘signs of the times.’

    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=555. Accessed: August 9, 2016.

[7] I have not come across any re-written, redacted or  revised version of the Manual used by current day Charismatic Renewal Movements – not one that is available online, free or paid. Only this 1972 book is available.

[8] One would easily suspect a sola scriptura context in this seeming one-sided attention to Scriptures and Scriptural citations. If the objective is Catholic renewal, the context of the program and its content are suspiciously and exclusively protestant in character.

[10] CFC-Global’s CLP manual’s expanded outline states: “What does it mean to be a Christian? To be a Christian is to have a loving, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To be a Christian is to know the Father through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. To be a Christian is to have faith in God, to live in hopeful expectation of the fulfillment of the plan of God, and to love God above everything else. In short, to be a Christian is to let Christ take over our life, to obey his voice and do his bidding, to let go and let God.” CFC-FFL CLS manual’s outline states: “When we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become Christians. Since we now carry the name of Christ, we must know what it means to be a Christian in order to fully live out our calling… The essence of Christianity is union with God, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a relationship initiated by God, out of His mercy and love for us. In Christianity, we become a new creation and participate in the very life of Christ. We take on the nature of God, which is holiness.”

[11] Cf. E. Allison Peers, Trans. & Ed., The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle, Vol. 2 (New York: Burns & Oates, 2002), 319-20.

[12] This of course agrees with the warning of Our Lord Himself in Mt 7:21-23,21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

[15] Ibid.

[16] This false path goes against St. Paul’s statements: ”To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (1 Cor 12:7-11)

[17] Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

[18]“Praying in tongues” is often used by the charismatic groups as if tongues is a prayer for personal sanctity which is a classification of gratia gratis faciens or sanctifying grace, which it is not.

[19] Msgr. Ronald Knox, Enthusiasm, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1950), p. 551.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Nathan Busenitz in his article The Gift of Tongues: Comparing the Church Fathers with Contemporary Pentecostalism writes: “Relief from personal stress and self-edification of the tongues-speaker is the primary purpose of tongues in the eyes of Pentecostals, not the edification of others through interpretation of the tongues message as it was with the Fathers of the Church.” Cf. Nathan Busenitz, The Gift of Tongues: Comparing the Church Fathers with Contemporary Pentecostalism, Master’s Seminary journal, Vol. 17, no. 1, (Sun Valley, CA : The Master’s Seminary Journal, 2006), 61.

[23] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.6.1; Hippolytus, Apostolic Constitutions 8.1; Hegemonius, The Acts of Archelaus 37; Gregory of Nazianzen, The Oration on Pentecost 15-17; Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles, see his comments on 1 Cor 13:1; John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians 35.1; Augustine, The Letters of Petilian, the Donatist 2.32.74; Leo the Great, Sermons 75.2; Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.8; Origen, “Preface,” Origen de Principiis 3.1. Cited in Busenitz, Ibid.

[24] John Chrysostom (Homilies on First Corinthians 29.1) recognized that everyone who was baptized in Acts 10 and 19 spoke in tongues. He also recognized that, according to 1 Cor 12:30, not every Christian was expected to speak in tongues (see Homilies on 1 Corinthians 32.4). Yet, this apparent incongruity did not lead Chrysostom to argue for two kinds of tongues-speaking (one devotional and the other public). Instead, he saw the phenomenon in Acts (in both its nature and function) as identical with that in Corinthians.

[25] Ideally, of course, all tongues-speech was to be interpreted for the edification of the church. If, however, no interpretation was possible, the message was to be kept private since, without an interpretation, it was of no value to the rest of the congregation.

[26] Occasional references are also made to the tongues of angels (usually in the context of commenting on 1 Cor 13:1). The implication, however, is that the ability to converse in an angelic tongue is the exception (not the rule); and that the angelic languages (like human languages) consist of rational messages that can be interpreted. Even the apocrypha of the second century supports tongues as foreign languages. Cf. Harold Hunter, “Tongues-Speech: A Patristic Analysis,” JETS 23/2 (June 1980):126. The second-century apocrypha also contains one instance in which a human converses in rational language with an angel.

[27] Quotation and footnotes from Busenitz, Op. Cit., 62-3.

[28] Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 4.21, cited from David Bercot, ed., A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999) 300.

[29] Apostolic Consitutions 7.479, cited from Bercot, Dictionary 303.

[30] Ambrose, Of the Holy Spirit 2.13.149-152, cited from Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, 10:134.

[31] John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians 32.4 in reference to 1 Cor 12:30; Jerome, Against the Pelagians 1.16; Jerome makes a similar argument in 2.23; Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine 13.18.23. Also see On the Trinity, 15; Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 240, cited from 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS 117 (regarding 1 Cor 12:1).

[32] Stuart D. Currie (“Speaking in Tongues: Early Evidence Outside the New Testament,” in Speaking in Tongues, ed. Watson E. Mills [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986], 105) notes that there is “no early, firsthand account of the use of such a gift by a Christian”; see also John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians 32.4 in reference to 1 Cor 12:30; Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 240, cited from 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS 117 (regarding 1 Cor 12:1); Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine 13.18.23; see also On the Trinity 15; and Jerome, Against the Pelagians 1.16; Jerome makes a similar argument in 2.23.

[33] Busenitz, Op. Cit., 64.

[34] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.6.1, cited from Bercot, Dictionary 300.

[35] Ibid., 2.32.5.

[36] Origen, Origen de Principiis 2.10.7.

[37] Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John, 2.6, cited from Bercot, Dictionary 301.

[38] Novatian, On the Trinity 29, cited from Roberts, ANF  5:641; Hilary, On the Trinity 8.29.

[39] Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles, cited from 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS 120 in reference to 1 Cor 12:6.

[40] Severian of Gabala, Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church, cited from 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS 144 in reference to 1 Cor 14:28.

[41] See Jerome, Against the Pelagians 1.16; see also Augustine, Confessions 13.18.23.

[42] Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians 240, cited from 1–2 Corinthians, ACCS 117 (regarding 1 Cor. 12:1). See also, Leo the Great, Sermons 75.2.

[43] Arnobius, Against the Heathen 1.50, cited from Bercot, Dictionary 303. Cf. Busenitz, Op. Cit., 65.

[44] Origen, Origen Against Celsus 1.2; Eusebius, Church History 5.7.1; Basil, On the Spirit 16.37; Ambrose, Of the Holy Spirit 2.13.149-52.

[45] Hippolytus, Apostolic Constitutions 8.1, cited from Roberts, ANF 7:479-80.

[46] Busenitz, Op. Cit, 65.

[47] Tract. xxxii in Joan , No. 7. How then, brethren, because he that is baptized in Christ, and believes on Him, does not speak now in the tongues of all nations, are we not to believe that he has received the Holy Ghost? God forbid that our heart should be tempted by this faithlessness. Certain we are that every man receives: but only as much as the vessel of faith that he shall bring to the fountain can contain, so much does He fill of it. Since, therefore, the Holy Ghost is even now received by men, some one may say, Why is it that no man speaks in the tongues of all nations? Because the Church itself now speaks in the tongues of all nations. Before, the Church was in one nation, where it spoke in the tongues of all. By speaking then in the tongues of all, it signified what was to come to pass; that by growing among the nations, it would speak in the tongues of all. Whoso is not in this Church, does not now receive the Holy Ghost. For, being cut off and divided from the unity of the members, which unity speaks in the tongues of all, let him declare for himself; he has it not. For if he has it, let him give the sign which was given then. What do we mean by saying, Let him give the sign which was then given? Let him speak in all tongues. He answers me: How then, do you speak in all tongues? Clearly I do; for every tongue is mine, namely, of the body of which I am a member. The Church, spread among the nations, speaks in all tongues; the Church is the body of Christ, in this body you are a member: therefore, since you are a member of that body which speaks with all tongues, believe that thou too speakest with all tongues. For the unity of the members is of one mind by charity; and that unity speaks as one man then spoke. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701032.htm

[50] The CFC-Global’s introductory part in its Expanded Outline on the Talk on “The Gift of Tongues” reads, “We all have been prayed with for baptism in the Spirit. Having asked and received, the Holy Spirit is at work in us in a new way. Part of the Spirit’s work is implanting a desire in our hearts to have more and more of God, to continue to experience Him more intimately. One powerful experience some lack is speaking in tongues.” (Cf. Tongues Workshop Manual)

[51] Ibid., Tongues Workshop Manual. The outline of the manual says, “Tongues is also unique.  It is a prominent feature in the church established at Pentecost. Speaking in tongues is for all of us.  ‘Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues’ (1 Cor 14:5).” I sense that this is a deliberate act of misleading the participants. “Now I should like all of you…”: this comment of St. Paul should not be taken out of context! The deliberate extraction of the first part of the sentence makes it appear that St. Paul exhorts “us” by saying “we should speak in tongues.” This is far from the truth.  The verse before it and the lines after it provide us a context, and it is a negative one! Let us look at it: (1 Cor 14) v4: “Whoever speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but whoever prophesies builds up the church.” v5: “Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be built up.” (emphases added) Paul knew that these extraordinary graces of tongues and prophecy  can only come from God. Let us go 3 verses earlier where Paul begins this chapter by saying “Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy” (1 Cor 4:1). In effect, Paul was exhorting these Corinthian believers to only pursue love, that virtue that ordinarily sanctifies their lives, because in doing so God may grant them, as He wishes, the extraordinary grace of prohesying. No, Paul does not encourage us to pursue extraordinary graces (prophecy or tongues, etc.), granting them is God’s choice. Rather, he exhorts us to pursue faith, hope and love, of which he says the greatest is love (1 Cor 13:13). In fact, he highlights sanctifying love as a prerequisite for extraordinary favors, like tongues, when he says (just a few lines before in 1 Cor 13:1), “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.”

[52] Ibid., The text that instructs how to speak in tongues reads, “We open our mouth and speak out. We lay aside any known language, and just speak out. It may be ‘la,la,la’ or ‘ba,ba,ba’ or ‘alleluia’ or any other syllable or sound.  God will shape these sounds into a language of prayer and praise.”

[53] This is often cited to justify the ends of any spiritual and even material endeavour. Remember, the end does not justify the means. Yes, we do have outstanding morally good atheists. But what do we now teach our Catholics? It is okay to be atheists as long as the resultant effect of what they do are considered good by the world? Not so.

[54] Also known in protestant circles as “baptism with the Holy Spirit,” “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” or “Spirit baptism.” In protestant theology, it is distinguished from baptism with water. In Pentecostal churches and charismatic churches, “baptism with the Holy Spirit” is considered an experience distinct from Christian initiation. cf. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Grand Rapids,( Michigan: Zondervan, 1944). It is not a reference, therefore, to the Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church.

[55] But how about the deaf? They can’t speak except through their hands.  And besides, we already saw that this is unscriptural and goes against strong Catholic positions.

[56] Cf. Lk 16:15  And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.

[57] Cf. Summa theologiae, I-II, q. 113, a. 9, ad 2.

[58] Cf.  St. Augustine, De divers. quaest. , 83, q. 79.

[59] From my personal copy of the book in ms word format of Fr. Jordan Aumann’s Spiritual Theology, under the chapter on Discernment of Spirits.

[61] There is not a single instance in the New Testament where someone is touched on the forehead and falls to the ground due to the presence of the Spirit. (If the reader is thinking about St. Paul, remember, he was not touched on the forehead.

[63] So-called nature spirits, elementals, gnomes, dwarves, fairies, even vampires are demonic spirits shape-shifting  as such to accommodate current spiritual socio-cultural beliefs to deceive human beings.

[66] Ibid.(emphases mine)

[68] I have always expressed to these local leaders the suggestion that if CFC wants to be a parochial movement, it may want to consider re-naming their aggrupations using ecclesial terms like diocesan, vicarial or parochial chapters to facilitate identification of these groups by the clergy and the other lay non-members of the Church. “Sector North B”for example is an unknowngroup to many diocesan priests, who would prefer having them named: Vicariate of Ina ng Lupang Pangako CFC.